I woke up early this morning, unable to sleep. It happens most days, these days. The restlessness. Frustration. The knowledge that laws are being created and enacted each day, to strip people of their foundational rights and decency. That laws are being destroyed, which protect the inherit dignity of vulnerable people, animals & ecosystems. That power is being consolidated each day, by those who wish to exploit & extract. That those who are willing to do harm and cause violence, are winning. That those who are willing to perpetuate crimes against humanity, are winning. That those who are willing to engage crimes against nature, are winning. That those who believe in their supremacy, through false narratives of erasure and subjugation, are winning. That while there is a great deal we can do in the long term, our short term options feel preciously limited in their capacity to protect and defend, those whose very life force deserves protecting and defending, if for other reason than that they hold the force of life.
This week is particularly chilling. As the legal body who presumes power over this land, debates the lifetime appointment of a man who stands ready to strip the rights of everyone who does not look like him. To reduce the legal protections of all who do not look, like me. A man who has used politeness and decorum, as a facade for decency, while upholding ideologies so proudly limited in their understanding of life and value and worth and dignity, that they make a mockery of any ideal rooted in liberty or justice for all. A man who has been explicit, in his desire to use the full power of the law, to enforce his small and sad understanding of what is or is not - who is or is not - deserving of equal protection under the law.
The colonial institutions that dominate our lives and this land, the lives of so many billions of people around the world, and so many more billions of animals and species of life across every spectrum of the planet, are each rooted in fear and violence. There is not a colonial state, anywhere on earth, with its buildings and columns and judges and legislators, who does not originally gain its legitimacy, from genocidal force. From an all encompassing violence, that destroys, conquers and then claims dominion. The people of this land, and all lands, deserve an opportunity to rewrite our founding documents, to redraw the lines that limit the migration of lives, and to recreate the symbols that create our children’s consciousness. Such is the birthright of life. Each generation must decide for itself, what laws will govern itself. Such is the burden of being alive; not to control those who will come after, but to tend to that which is alive today, in a way that ensures there will be life tomorrow. So those who will inevitably arrive, are then also given a chance to choose. A chance to decide how they too, will be governed. How they too, will live. How they too, will give what they have been so freely given - the earth, air, water, and life - to the generations that follow.
All life holds this choice. It is as inherit as the flow of water. If we met one another in a field, we would either decide to fight, or we would decide to talk. We would either do the work of battle, or we would do the work of conversation and consensus. We would either decide to use the force of physical violence, or use the force of our minds and hearts and creativity and capacity. We would either decide that those with the most capacity for harm should rule, or we would decide to create mechanisms to govern and protect our lives and our community. If we wish to live in some semblance of harmony with one another, each generation must engage this sacred work. To come together, and decide for ourselves, what rules we will subject ourselves to, and what we will not. We are not required by nature, to submit to what those before us decided. To subdue our intuition or intelligence, in subservience to decisions made in another time. Traditions carry weight and wisdom, but they too were made by people wrestling with their own lives, in their own way, in their own time. Each generation must do the same. To not do so, is to place our lives and the lives of our children, at the mercy of those who did not know what we now know, or in the hands of those who would pervert what was decided then, to benefit themselves now.
Amidst these challenging times, when my life and family and obligations, have taken me so far from where my conscience has often placed me, I have consistently thanked Creator for those willing to stand at the frontlines. For those able to meet the full force of injustice, with the full force of their bodies and voice. For those willing to place themselves physically between that which stands ready to destroy, on behalf of all who wish to create. These people come in all shapes and sizes, from all colors and creeds. Though a patriarchal history would tell us otherwise, they have often been women. Though a colonial history would tell us otherwise, they have nearly always been led by people of color - at least, since the beginnings of the violence we call colonialism.
Today, this is as true as ever.
Yesterday, our sisters once again put their bodies on the line for all of us. They stood up bravely and denounced the confirmation hearings of a man who has used the law to reduce the dignity of so many. They stood up courageously, and interrupted the proceedings for a man who would hold the vulnerable accountable for circumstances they did not create, while protecting the powerful who often did. They shouted loudly for the world to hear, that these hearings would not hear from the multitudes, whose basic rights were being directly threatened. And while they disrespected the laws of decorum, they showed deep respect for the larger ideals for which they fight, and submitted themselves to arrest.
What dignity. What grace. What courage. From a distance away, I honor these women. In the absence of leadership from so many who have been elected, I honor their leadership. What the world would look like, if each of us stood to be counted, and risked arrest and bodily harm, for the sake of all others who cannot. It may not ever be perfect, but certainly it would be a better one. A fairer one. A more free one.
To the leaders of yesterday’s action, and to all who were arrested yesterday and everyday, in defiance of injustice, and in pursuit of liberation for all life, thank you. Thank you for your sacrifice. For your courage. For your dignity. For the way our children will see resistance, and the way you bring it’s long legacy to life. Thank you.
We are all in your debt. Though we may not all see it today, future generations most certainly will. Thank you.